Bangalore: National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), a not-for-profit initiative of the Wadhwani Foundation, has discontinued its popular competition of identifying innovative start-ups using popular vote, because it is resource-intensive and also not part of the core strategy of the foundation.
The first edition of the competition, Tata NEN Hottest Start-ups award 2008 concluded in April with experts and voters selecting five winners from 588 participants. Nearly 260,000 people voted to decide the winners, four times the number of public responses the organizers expected.
Following the success, NEN had announced that it would make the contest an annual event. “As a nonprofit agency that supports entrepreneurship development in academic institutions, we had to make a choice. This was not our core strategy,” said Laura Parkin, executive director at the Wadhwani Foundation. “There are a lot of copycats now; we proved that there is an appetite for news around start-ups.”
Business television channel UTVi, The Economic Times with its Power of Ideas and the Silicon Valley chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) are conducting similar contests for start-ups, she added. Mint, which was the official print media partner of the competition last year, competes with The Economic Times.
“We are upset that a lot of entrepreneurs call us and ask ‘when are you running it (the event) this year’; ‘give us the deadline’.” But NEN had been “forced to make hard choices. We are delighted that the competition worked,” Parkin said.